JACKSONVILLE -- Sitting in the wonderful Jacksonville Airport about to board a flight to Nashville. A few thoughts before I head west:
--No.4 Florida (7-1, 5-1 in SEC) hasn't lost to Vanderbilt (5-3, 3-2) since 1988.
--Florida is a 24-point favorite, according to one offshore sports book. Take my advice and pass on this bet. Florida's margin of victory over the last four games (39.5 points) has skewed this line. Vanderbilt features a strong defense, which ranks second in the league behind Florida in red-zone efficiency. The Commodores have held opponents scoreless in the red zone on 15 of 20 possessions this season. Furthermore, Vandy's opponents have scored TDs on just 10 of 25 red-zone possessions (four rushing/six passing). The 40 percent TD rate by opponents ranks second nationally behind Florida State.
--In addition to those stats, Vanderbilt is playing at home and at night in front of a sold out stadium and can tie Florida and Georgia for first place in the SEC with a win. You read that correctly. It's November and Vanderbilt is still in the race for the SEC East. Expect a nasty and physical SEC football game. Not saying Vandy has much of a chance to beat Florida, but I do think the Commodores will keep it close. This is the biggest game of their season.
--Would anyone be surprised if UF quarterback Tim Tebow accounts for all of Florida's touchdowns on Saturday night? If the Gators are inside the VU 10, expect Tebow to get the call. He's back in the Heisman race and UF wants him to win it and if not win it, then land another trip to New York.
--In his last four games, Tebow has completed 70 percent of his passes.